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Eating Humble Pie - Basically I need HELP! 4231 & 433 just not working - Detailed Info inside!

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So here I am in need of help and I mean urgent help! I have been quite successful with previous versions of FM and have played the game since it's very first release over 20 years ago. I would like to think I have a sound knowledge of football given the fact that I have played the game since I first started to walk. I played Semi Pro for many years, playing both the Target Man, DLF roles and occasionally the AMC free role. So I would like to think I have a sound knowledge when it comes to attacking play and what is required from those types of positions.

Anyway, moving on... I am Bristol City, started off on Automatic and straight away my players were finding it hard to motivate themselves to play for me. We finished 14th season 1, inline with what we were predicted. Season 2 was awesome, predicted to finish 15th, we finished 3rd on 86pts (just 2pts off 2nd place) and won our playoff final 1-0 in extra time after missing a 90th min pen. That season we played a 41221 and grounded out results. I think off the top of my head we went something like 14 games unbeaten winning 9 games in a row.

Season 3 - Media Prediction 20th

I strengthen my squad significantly bringing in the likes of Robben, Buonanotte, Robbie Keane, basically strengthening all areas. We had an excellent pre season playing 10 games to get our big squad all fit and raring to go. I kept my training on cohesion until I think somewhere like November and and have my match training on teamwork and recently have followed my ass manager advice of defending set pieces and defence positioning.

We have played 27 games and are 3pts adrift of safety with the other side having a game in hand on us.

Moving onto my fixtures tactics etc..

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Team Squad

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Team Comparison with the rest of the league

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Now I feel that sometimes these comparison charts can somewhat be misleading. It shows that in midfield I have terrible Stamina, Tackling and Teamwork so here are some screenshots of my DM's and DLP's.

Simao & Diarra DM Defend/Support

Simao: Tackling 15, Teamwork 15, Stamina 17 - Strength 17, Position 15, Marking 16 avg - 7.12

Diarra: Tackling 16, Teamwork 13, Stamina 16 - Strength 15, Position 15, Marking 14 avg - 7.04

I think it would be fair to say that Simao is more than up to the job for this role.

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Zola & Dos Santos DLP - Support

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Moving on to the tactics (Ignore where the players have been selected as they are not setup)

4231

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Heat Map & Our Shots vs Everton Away 4231

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Heat Map & Our Shots vs Chelsea Home 4231

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4212 Diamond

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Heat Map & Our Shots vs Fulham Home using 41212

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Here is the 41221 that I just got hammered 5-3 at home to West Brom which held me in good stead last season

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Information about each tactic and what I have tried etc

4231

So with this tactic I started off playing with 2 strong DM's namely Simao and Diarra in a DMs & DMd role. I felt that we would be struggling in most matches so if we could stiffle the opposition and protect our back four then perhaps we could nick goals on the counter attack. This started off okay, and I employed this formation when we were playing one of the big teams at home as well as using it for all away matches. We picked up creditable results beating Man Utd H 2-1, Liverpool A 3-1.

We were suffering with a lack of goals, some reason we did not look threatening on the break, and would hardly create anything. Any shots we did have, would usually come from outside the box or on the edge. When my striker did have a run at goal he would usually blast it high and wide. Therefore I opted to employ a DLP and replaced Diarra with this type of player. So now we were playing DMd & DLPs. Still, we hardly created anything. I am at a loss as to how we went something like 8 games unbeaten and now we have managed just 1pt in the last 8 matches!

Shouts I would use for this formation would be -

Get stuck in, Work Ball, Play Narrow, Exploit Wings, Pass into space

Sometimes I will -

Switch to counter, Get stuck in, work ball, Exploit Wings, Pass into space

If I went behind and we were struggling I would push up and look to get the ball forwards.

4212 Diamond

After struggling in home matches with the 4231 I decided that perhaps we needed to play with 2 strikers and thought that seeing how our crossing was not really working, perhaps we should just go narrow and exploit the middle. Needless to say, we were being torn apart down the flanks and we were still not scoring or looking anywhere near as threatening as when we were employing the 4231 at home.

Shouts I would use would usually be:

Get stuck in, Work ball, Exploit Middle, Play Wider, Look for Overlap

Retain Possession, Play out of defence

41221

Ideally this is the formation that I would like to play at home with the 4231 when away if you guys can help me get it going. I have tried the combinations of DLPs in the MC position and in the DM position. I have had my DMs/d also play in the BWMs role in MC when I had the DLP in the DMs role.

We just got torn apart by West Brom 5-3, they had 7 shots on target, scored 5 and my GK still got 7.8 rating!

Shouts I would use would usually be:

Get Stuck In, Work Ball, Exploit Wings, Pass into Space

Inside Forwards/Wingers

I have tried all combinations with these. I have had IFs with the other side Wa, then I tried IFa and IFs, still no good.

I have tried to supply as much info as I can regarding my tactics and my squad in the hope that you guys can help me understand where I am going wrong and why, further more that we also survive relegation and start to prosper next season hopefully in the Premier League!

Opposition Instructions

In season 2 I found it quite effective to close down and show to weak foot for all fullbacks, midfielders and strikers, so I continued this in season 3 however I started to realize that the opposition would rip us apart and find gaps so I changed that to show weak foot for fullbacks, midfielders and strikers, and close down for the strikers. If it is a lone striker I would also tight mark.

My side is setup for 'zonal marking'.

One thing I do not understand with all of my tactics, why is it that we always seem to be too far away from the oppositions goal, and why when I use work ball from the kick off do we seem to only shoot from outside the box? We really are not having many shots at all and of course if we dont shoot we cannot score. If you need any further info please ask.

So, I think that just about covers everything, for now my season is on hold until I can get the help needed. :rolleyes:

Edit: We have conceded 10 goals in total from set pieces. 4 from corners, 3 IDFK's and 3 DFK's. I sorted out the DFK goals as I only had 3 players in the wall for some bizarre reason. Now I have 4 players in the wall we have not conceded since from a DFK.

We have also scored 5 goals from corners, and have not scored once from any type of free kick.

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I think I should point out that I am really wanting help with the 4231 and if possible, the 41221 tactics. I have provided as much info as I can possibly think of in the hope that you guys can help me out with where I am going wrong. It's clear to see that we're hardly scoring and that I am not shooting inside the box and I cannot understand as to why, given the fact that I always use 'work ball' right from kick-off.

Does my team look more than capable of holding there own in this league?

Is playing two different formations home/away not helping my players?

I am just at a loss as to how we can lose once in 8 games and then all of a sudden go on the horrendous run.

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Unfortunately I haven´t played this much this year but I have completed my first season with AFC Wimbledon in League 1 and the results were good. I got promoted via playoffs mainly because I was unable to find the right group of shouts. Anyway my tactic was a 4231 with a double pivot so I think I can help you a bit.

My advises are:

- Keep your training high on teamwork or team cohesion after a poor run of results;

- Don´t be so harsh on your players after some losses (unless they play really bad);

- Have a team meeting after 2 or 3 losses in a row. However be aware that you shouldn´t do more than 3 team meeting a season;

- Have individual talks for players below your average standards (ie: player with avg 6.20 in 5 games) or after a very poor game (anyone below 6.00);

- If you play with a 4231 deep switch your wingers. Put Robben on the opposite flank with a inside fwd role (support). He could be more useful because he´s a left footer and can cute inside and do some damage. You can also give a winger role to the other guy (Asamoah?);

- Give the AMC a deep lying playmaker role in order to keep him more involved. I prefer a support duty but that is a personal preference. Don´t forget to tick the box below in the team instructions screen.

- A quick look into the team comparison stats tells me that your main weaknesses are pace and tackling but you have good technical team. Don´t bother with the stamina stat because there is no big difference. In attack you have good finishers with good off the ball movement and good anticipation.

- You can employ a different group of shouts. As you lack pace and tackling don´t use get stuck in and pass into space. I recommend a possession game with a combination of these shouts: stay on feet, pass into feet, retain possession, play through defence. I´m not sure about hassle opponents because you lack pace. Whilst reduce space for the opposition it can also bring your players out of position. Try and see if it works for you;

- Pitch dimensions: Exploit the middle/play wider in a narrow pitch; exploit the flanks/play narrower in a wide pitch. Drop deeper in a narrow pitch, push higher up in a long pitch (please refer to Cleon´s thread http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/334248-Understanding-Your-Tactic-The-Discussion);

- As for your style , I think it´s better to maintain your team structure so go balanced. For your overall strategy, I prefer control but due to your bad run of results go for a more conservative approach. Balanced or counter should do the work. Then if results improve you can go more expansive.

Hope it works for you.

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Guest sciegu

Check what kind of preferred moves your DLF have (as it may affect your IF movement), especially when playing 41221. Another thing which i don't like is winger on attack duty - to whom he's suppose to cross ? Your IF on support won't be able to be in correct place same for your DLF. Instead I prefer to play winger on support and IF on attack. I don't understand why your DM is on support role - in fact you have only two defensive minded players which is good if you're Manchester United or sth like that, also you're using DLP on support - check their positioning i think that DM limits his space due to being on support. Also it appears that your attacking players are super slow turtles so passing into space maybe not good idea.

In general I would try more defensive set up with more build up play(as you have quite good passing and technique) and I would change philosophy for rigid(not much creativity and very pure decisions in your team)

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Unfortunately I haven´t played this much this year but I have completed my first season with AFC Wimbledon in League 1 and the results were good. I got promoted via playoffs mainly because I was unable to find the right group of shouts. Anyway my tactic was a 4231 with a double pivot so I think I can help you a bit.

My advises are:

- Keep your training high on teamwork or team cohesion after a poor run of results;

- Don´t be so harsh on your players after some losses (unless they play really bad);

- Have a team meeting after 2 or 3 losses in a row. However be aware that you shouldn´t do more than 3 team meeting a season;

- Have individual talks for players below your average standards (ie: player with avg 6.20 in 5 games) or after a very poor game (anyone below 6.00);

- If you play with a 4231 deep switch your wingers. Put Robben on the opposite flank with a inside fwd role (support). He could be more useful because he´s a left footer and can cute inside and do some damage. You can also give a winger role to the other guy (Asamoah?);

- Give the AMC a deep lying playmaker role in order to keep him more involved. I prefer a support duty but that is a personal preference. Don´t forget to tick the box below in the team instructions screen.

- A quick look into the team comparison stats tells me that your main weaknesses are pace and tackling but you have good technical team. Don´t bother with the stamina stat because there is no big difference. In attack you have good finishers with good off the ball movement and good anticipation.

- You can employ a different group of shouts. As you lack pace and tackling don´t use get stuck in and pass into space. I recommend a possession game with a combination of these shouts: stay on feet, pass into feet, retain possession, play through defence. I´m not sure about hassle opponents because you lack pace. Whilst reduce space for the opposition it can also bring your players out of position. Try and see if it works for you;

- Pitch dimensions: Exploit the middle/play wider in a narrow pitch; exploit the flanks/play narrower in a wide pitch. Drop deeper in a narrow pitch, push higher up in a long pitch (please refer to Cleon´s thread http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/334248-Understanding-Your-Tactic-The-Discussion);

- As for your style , I think it´s better to maintain your team structure so go balanced. For your overall strategy, I prefer control but due to your bad run of results go for a more conservative approach. Balanced or counter should do the work. Then if results improve you can go more expansive.

Hope it works for you.

Thank you for your response.

For team talks when I am the underdog I have been using 'calm' and telling them 'even though we're the underdogs go out and do it for the fans'.

I have tried playing Robben on the right flank as IFa and on the left flank as IFs but with not much luck.

So if I have the AMC as my 'playmaker' what do you suggest I do with my original DLP who is currently in the DMs position as a DLP? Do I opted to play 2x DMd or perhaps 1xDMd and 1xDMs but both players being the steel behind the team?

Check what kind of preferred moves your DLF have (as it may affect your IF movement), especially when playing 41221. Another thing which i don't like is winger on attack duty - to whom he's suppose to cross ? Your IF on support won't be able to be in correct place same for your DLF. Instead I prefer to play winger on support and IF on attack. I don't understand why your DM is on support role - in fact you have only two defensive minded players which is good if you're Manchester United or sth like that, also you're using DLP on support - check their positioning i think that DM limits his space due to being on support. Also it appears that your attacking players are super slow turtles so passing into space maybe not good idea.

In general I would try more defensive set up with more build up play(as you have quite good passing and technique) and I would change philosophy for rigid(not much creativity and very pure decisions in your team)

Currently the players whom I have used for the DLF role have had no PPMs at all. I have jsut recently signed Bojan on loan and he has Moves into channels, cuts inside.

I figured that my winger would be putting crosses into the box for my IFs, DLF and my CMa. Am I wrong with this thinking?

I put my DM on a support role in the 41221 formation because I wanted him to step into the midfield when we were on the attack so if/when play is broken down he will be able to win the ball higher up the pitch for us, thus keeping us in the opponents half.

What roles do you suggest I have the DM and DLP in the 4231 formation? I figured DMd and DLPs would be fine.

I think you're probably right with the thing about passing into space and perhaps would be better if we passed to feet and kept possession and definitely look to changing my philosophy as you suggested.

Regarding pace within my side here is what my attacking options are:

IFs/a & Winger

Robben: Acc 15, Pace 15, Cross 16, Dribb 18

Dossevi: Acc 17, Pace 15, Cross 13, Dribb 14

Adomah: Acc 16, Pace 16, Cross 14, Dribb 15

DLF

Dong Wong: Acc 12, Pace 13, Fin 14, Comp 12, Stre 11, First Touch 15

Bojan: Acc 15, Pace 16, Fin 14, Comp 14, Stre 11, First Touch 14

Pavlov: Acc 12, Pace 12, Fin 15, Comp 12, Stre 15, First Touch 13

It can be noted that Bojan can also play as an IF on either the left or right and cut inside.

What setup would you use for those 3 positions and which players where?

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Guest sciegu
I figured that my winger would be putting crosses into the box for my IFs, DLF and my CMa. Am I wrong with this thinking?

Your IF won't be on time in an appropriate place so that the cross reaches him because he plays deeper and less aggressive than the winger. Either change winger on support or IF on attack.

I noticed that you have set up drill crosses, I don't see any logic behind it. Basically you tell your players to cross on near post - not only you are reducing IF chances to score from cross due to his support role but also due to his movement and positioning (most times he will be somewhere near long post or middle) Conclusion - try to change crosses from drill to float.

I put my DM on a support role in the 41221 formation because I wanted him to step into the midfield when we were on the attack so if/when play is broken down he will be able to win the ball higher up the pitch for us, thus keeping us in the opponents half.

I see your point. But first of all for me DM role is to defend and cover in situations where you loose possession. Instead he's abandoning his position and leaving a lot of space for opposite team. Above all you just have to have at least three defensive minded players especially when you're Bristol City :). I will try to answer your questions later on.

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One thing I have found very useful, is if you are heavy underdogs. 3/1 or more then calmly telling them the pressure is off works wonders. As does low closing down.

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So I made a few adjustments for our match vs Liverpool at home and Man Utd away. I made the AM become APs and ticked for him to be the playmaker.

4231>Rigid>Standard

FB:Support

FB:Support

CD:Cover

CD:Cover

---------

DM: Defend

DLP:Support

-----------

IF:Attack (left side)

IF:Support (Right side)

AP:Support

----------

DLF:Attack

Shouts at kick-off

retain possession, pass feet, play out of defence, play narrow, exploit flanks, work ball, stay on feet

OI's

fullbacks/midfield/strikers: show on weak foot

AML/R/C + ST: close down

AMC + ST: TM

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Liverpool scored a dubious goal where Gerrard played a through ball and my DC decided he would step up to move out of the way of the ball at the last second to give Saurez an easy chance from 7 yards to score.

Man Utd scored within 15 seconds after kick-off with a neat 1-2 for nani to slot home from close range. We looked dangerous when we attacked but for some reason my striker and wingers just want to either kick it over or directly at the GK.

I know it's only 2 matches played against quality sides, but we're certainly looking more dangerous when going forward and keeping our shape better as a unit. I do have a few questions though...

1) When we exploit the flanks this increases the mentality and FWR's for our fullbacks, thus making us easy to be exploited if/when play breaks up. How can we exploit the wings and yet keep our fullbacks back or are they needed to go forwards for the exploit wings to work?

2) In both of these matches I looked to retain possession and pass to feet. Against a side that is far superior than what I am, would you say this was fine or would you suggest a different method?

3) Since I changed my striker from DLFs to DLFa we certainly are looking more dangerous and he is still coming deep to help create play. What is the main difference between these settings?

4) My IFs who is playing on the right hand side seems to not really cut-inside, and still heads for the byline whereby he will usually put in a pathetic cross that is easily cleared, unlike the AI's super effective crosses or he passes it back to our FB. Any suggestions?

5) Now that I have the AM position as APs and ticked as my playmaker, is there any point in me having a DLPs, playing alongside the DMd, or should I replace him with another DMd so we have 2xDMd?

Lastly, how do I stop my wingers and striker dribbling the ball from an angle directly to the near post, practically walking into the post? It's so annoying and frustrating when an easy pass is on or a shot?

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Guest sciegu

1) It's just a case of risk and reward

2) For me - nothing wrong with that,

3) I don't know about DLFa couse If i want use attacking duty for striker i change his role to CF. I assume that on attacking duty he will make more forward runs and care less about creating space

4) I also have the feeling that IF's don't cut inside enough - I don't remember what is their default setup - but i always change crossing for rare, I'm trying to teach them PMs like cut inside and avoid using weaker foot. Then DLF should have sth like plays back to goal or comes deep to get the ball. Maybe this is just my imagination but i feel that setting WBa makes IF's cut inside more. Anyway this is just to much to do to achieve proper IF's movment.

5) I don't play 4231 so I won't help you with that.

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1) This has to do with tempo - a quick tempo means that those up front will have to do the attacking since the attacks will be over before the wing backs can overlap. A slower tempo and more defensive mentality means that the ball will go more slowly forwards, and the wing backs will have time to join in on the attack before it ends. I only increase the mentality and RFD of my full backs when I really need a goal and have nothing to lose.

2) The lower mentalities, slower tempo and deeper line of defensive strategies like Counter and Defend means that you are meant to try keeping the ball and hit them quickly on the counter. This is supposed to work, and to be the right choice when you face good teams. Instinctively, I would not try to keep the ball with an inferior team but rather get the ball as quickly forward as possible while the opposition is out of balance because being caught in possession deep into your own half is very risky, but I understand why the football logic of FM is that keeping the ball is a good idea.

3) DLFs RFD rarely and normal mentality, DLFa RFD sometimes and attacking mentality. That's the main difference.

4) Is your right IF right-footed?

5) A DLP will have through-balls set to Often and have higher Creative Freedom. A DMC will likely have it set to Sometimes (s) or even Rarely (D).

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